Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
There are three new releases this week to enjoy. Mad Max: Fury Road (15) provides post apocalyptic action and adventure. Pitch Perfect 2 (12A) brings music and comedy whereas Force Majeure (15) is a fine international comedy drama.
Films that have vanished this week include the two family favourites Big Hero 6 & The Hero of Colour City as well as the comedy drama While We're Young. However we do see the return, for one day only, of the biographical drama Wild.
Looking into the future, films that are due to arrive at the Lancaster screens later in May include Dino Time; Friday Download Presents: Up all Night; Spy and Whiplash.
As well as the new releases there still a good collection of adventure films on offer including Big Game, the spy thriller Spooks: The Greater Good, science fantasy drama with Avengers: Age of Ultron and high speed action with Fast and Furious 7. Science fiction romance comes with The Age of Adaline and horror is represented with Unfriended.
For more family oriented entertainment there is Cinderella; Home; Shaun the Sheep and Two by Two. However the big attraction will be coming at the end of June with the expected release of Minions.
Culture this week includes opera with The Pirates of Penzance and theatre with Man and Superman.
One movie of note is the David Lynch film Wild At Heart (18) showing at the Dukes.
A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman
Cast Includes: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Helen McCrory
The film is set in Paris in 1862. King Louis XIV (Rickman)
wishes to build a marvelous garden at the Palace of Versailles and so
hires the famous landscape artist Andre Le Notre (Schoenaerts) to
undertake the work. Le Notre advertises for an assistant and hires
Sabine de Barra (Winslet), a talented and attractive woman with modern
ideas on gardening. Sabine has something of a past (told in flashback)
and must overcome the obstacles of her class and sex to function within
the court. The film is a period romance with the sexual chemistry
building between Sabine and Andre, while being opposed by Andre's
scheming wife Francoise (McCrory). The performances are excellent and
the film a delight of stunning gardens and costumes. An entertaining if
somewhat unchallenging film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast Includes: Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner,
Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Paul
This is the eleventh film in the franchise and the movie starts
where 'The Avengers' finished. Following a raid on a Hydra outpost,
Stark (Downey) and Banner (Ruffalo) complete Stark's defense program to
protect the earth using an artificial intelligence. However the latter,
Ultron (Spader) strives for human destruction. Ultron attacks the
avengers and develops a plan to end humanity. Following the battle the
avengers start to fight among themselves. However Stark creates a new
being, Vision (Bettany) who aids the avengers in their final
confrontation with Ultron. This is a very fast acting movie, louder and
bigger than its predecessors with complicated plot and titanic special
effects. The movie has received good reviews and will delight anyone
who enjoyed previous Avenger movies.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast includes: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden
Disney's re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Cinderella
(James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine
(Blanchett) following the death of her father. The film sticks very
close to Disney's 1950 animated musical. Cinderella is rather 'sickly
sweet' but this is offset by the malevolence of the character of Lady
Tremaine. The movie has some comedy action and a good selection of
special effects. There is nothing in here to offend and the movie will
be loved by all.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast Includes: Juno Temple, Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen
The latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel of
the same name. Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a willful young woman
who has come into property by inheritance. Her looks and manner result
in three potential suitors looking to marry her, a sheep farmer Gabriel
Oaks (Schoenaerts), a middle aged neighbour William Boldwood (Sheen) and
a handsome Sargent Frank Troy (Sturridge). However Bathsheba comes to
regret her choice of husband. This is a fine adaption of what is a
difficult novel to bring to the screen. The scenery is glorious and
acting excellent. A solid period drama romance.
Fast and Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Cast Includes: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham
Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Walker) and the rest
of their associates return to the USA where they hope to find peace.
However Deckard Shaw (Statham) is the latest villain after Don and the
team as he seeks revenge for the death of his brother. The film is thus
a sequel to the 2013 Fast and Furious 6 and it involves even more car
chases and madcap action. The film suffered from the death of the actor
Paul Walker during filming but this does not detract from the frenzied
action. A worthy successor to this popular franchise.
Spooks: The Greater Good
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Cast Includes: Jennifer Ehle, Laura Pulver, Kit Harington, Tuppence Middleton, Peter Firth, Elyes Gabel
A terrorist, Adam Qasim (Gabel), escapes from MI5 custody.
Harry Pearce (Firth), head of counter terrorism, is blamed and Harry
subsequently vanishes. Agent Will Halloway (Harington) is brought back
into MI5 to investigate. He succeeds in finding Harry and the two of
them work to uncover a traitor who deliberately freed the terrorist and
who is plotting to destroy MI5. The film is set in London and marks the
cinema debut of the TV series that was first broadcast in 2002. The
movie captures the spirit of the series and references events in the
final episode. The plot is unpredictable with plenty of twists and
turns and the film has its fair share of action. This is a tense, fast
paced offering that will delight anyone who enjoyed the TV show.
However it may not quite have enough presence to win over an
The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Cast Includes: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford
Adaline Bowman (Lively) is almost eighty years old. However
she has kept her youth as, following a freak accident, she stopped
ageing when she was 28. She hides the secret of her age by leading a
solitary existence, and making a new identify every decade. However
after a chance encounter with a philanthropist Ellis Jones (Huisman) she
falls in love with him. She meets his family, but is recognised by his
father William (Ford) who knew her in the past. The plot of this movie
is a little contrived, but if you can forgive that it is a well crafted
and well acted fantasy love story.
Director: Levan Gabriadze
Cast includes: Jacob Wysocki, Shelly Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman
This was initially released under the title Cybernatural. The
movie is based in California, though the set of the film is the screen
of the computer of Blaire Lily (Hennig). Blaire's friend Laura Barns
(Sossaman) committed suicide a year earlier after a video was released
on the Internet which shamed her. Now Blair and her set of friends find
themselves being stalked on Skype and other social media by an unknown
figure who starts to reveal the dark secrets of the group of friends.
This is a teen horror movie that will appeal to a generation whose
social life revolves around social media. The film has its share of
frights and setting the movie on a computer screen is breaking new
ground for the horror genre.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Cast includes: Reese Witherspoon, Thomas Sadoski
A biographical drama based on Cheryl Strayed's memoirs of her
trek across America. Cheryl (Witherspoon) is a woman with an
unfortunate past. Her mother died of cancer. Her marriage failed and
she fell into reckless and self destructive behaviour. In an attempt to
make sense of her life, Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail
on her own. The trail is in excess of 1000 miles, extending from
Mexico, through California to the Canadian border. The film follows
Strayed's journey, with frequent flashbacks to fill in the details of
her earlier life. This is a fine drama supported by the music and
poetry that kept her going. It is difficult not to feel that you are
accompanying her on the way.